A Lonely Place to Die (2011) Directed by Julian Gibley. With Melissa George, Ed Speleers, Alec Newman, Kate Magowan, Sean Harris and Karel Roden.
Imagine Deliverance meets Cliffhanger, with a hint of Ransom and you should arrive somewhere near A Lonely Place to Die. Julian Gibley directs and co-writes with his brother Will; a story about a team of mountaineers in the Scottish Highlands who unwittingly stumble into a dangerous situation forcing them into a fight for survival against more than just rocks and bad weather.
I’m not taking anything away from Gibley when I say this, but you’d have to be an awful director to make the Scottish Highlands look bad. Short of forgetting to turn the camera on, I’m not sure how you’d manage it. Despite the grey skies and clouds, it’s one of the most breathtaking places in the world. It’d look good if you filmed it on a potato. The film begins with sweeping panoramic shots of the landscape, essentially introducing us to what will be a key character in the piece.
On the subject of key characters, Melissa George cuts an impressive lead with a sturdy performance, reminiscent in more ways than one of Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. Her emergence as an actress since her days on Australian soap opera Home and Away hasn’t been as stratospheric as say, Margot Robbie or Guy Pearce (both Neighbours I realise nit-pickers) but she is nevertheless a fine actress with good screen presence. For a film that is essentially about thrills, spills and plot twists, she does a first rate job of brining a sense of humanity and character depth. You feel the film is lucky to have her.
There are some surprisingly violent moments, as well as upsetting themes of child abuse and kidnap. While the elements provide a gritty toughness, they might also distance some viewers from being able to sit back and and ‘enjoy’ the film in the more traditional sense.
A Lonely Place to Die is very much a film of two halves, the first half being by far the more impressive. It reverts to type fairly early on, but once it moves away from the natural environments, it becomes just another ‘edge-of-seat’ thriller, as opposed to a thriller on the best film-set in the world. 3/5